As I See It
Keep local control on school referendums
It is clear that people in Wisconsin value public education. That is evident in the wake of Tuesday’s election, when a majority of school referendum were approved across the state. Voters approved more than 62% of the requests for additional money for education in Tuesday’s vote. Voters agreed to boost school spending by an additional $700 million statewide. That included requests for new schools, or for operating expenses. In rapidly growing Verona, Wisconsin, voters approved one of the largest bonding requests in state history, providing an additional $162 million to build a new high school and make other renovations. Despite the size of the referendum, it was approved by 73% of Verona voters. But some lawmakers think Wisconsin’s school districts should have more restrictions on when they can conduct referendums for more money for education. Rep. Duey Strobel’s bill would restrict how often schools could ask voters for money, and schools which win voter approval could lose state education aid from the state. That makes no sense. Clearly, voters value a quality education, and are willing to pay for it, even if the state will not. Local school boards should be free to make their own decisions about how to best provide a quality education, without interference from the state. Lawmakers would be better to simply boost state education spending, rather than forcing districts to go to voters with their hands out.